London’s Heathrow Airport has unveiled a list of 18 sites that qualify to host factories and yards to build components for its third runway project.

The sites include logistics hubs in Yorkshire, the West and East Midlands, and the North West.

The 18 sites will now compete to become one of the final four construction centres, which will be announced early next year, ahead of the construction work on the $18.5bn third runway project starting in 2021.

Heathrow expansion executive director Emma Gilthorpe said: “Our expansion plans are progressing apace and continue to be refined thanks to feedback from a wide range of stakeholders. Heathrow is as committed as ever to creating a plan that delivers for every corner of the UK.

“Our expansion plans are progressing apace and continue to be refined thanks to feedback from a wide range of stakeholders.”

“Logistics hubs are key to achieving that. This innovative approach will be more cost effective, efficient and sustainable, helping to unlock much-needed capacity quickly and responsibly.

“We are working with other major infrastructure projects to see if they might also benefit from these hubs, creating a bright, new future for the UK’s construction sector. One in which we’re better utilising new technology and offsite techniques to spread the benefits of major projects like expansion nationwide.”

According to Heathrow, logistics hubs will enable the airport to build as much of the project offsite as possible.

Components will be pre-assembled at the hubs and then transported to Heathrow, boosting the project’s efficiency and cutting emissions.

Integrating an offsite manufacturing supply chain into a major project can cut the overall cost of the project by almost 25% whilst accelerating delivery by up to 30%, according to research by WPI Economics.

Heathrow claims that the third runway project will provide a major boost to the UK’s economy and create up to 114,000 local jobs by 2030.

A new runway would boost Heathrow’s capacity from 85.5 million passengers to 130 million, and the Department for Transport previously stated that no expansion would mean London’s five airports would reach full capacity by 2034.